Travelling for people with special needs around the world can be a challenge, however, there are a number of tips and resources available to ensure an easier journey.
If you have special needs or health challenges and wish to head out of town on business or leisure, Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking portal has tips to help lessen the anxiety that comes with the process.
Be informed and plan ahead of time
Nearly every obstacle can be avoided with the right amount of planning. If you do as much as you can to plan ahead, you will have a much smoother journey. Do not leave anything to chance. Search for the best possible options for lodging, verify the specifics, especially if you’re traveling in a wheelchair, and book before the scheduled date of depature. Also, check out the local health and medical associations in case an emergency arises.
Arrive the airport/bus terminal in time
If you have to, be the first to arrive at the airport or the bus/train terminal if you are traveling by land or train. It is better to be found waiting when your flight is called than miss your plane. Arriving early will give you ample time to check in, pass through security and get on the plane. Arrive at least three hours before a domestic flight and four hours before an international flight especially if your trip is at peak time. If you are traveling by bus or train, it is better you are early to get a better sitting position and space for easy access to your seat.
Use a travel agent
Making travel plans with a travel agent usually speeds up the booking process and transfers the burden of logistics to them. By doing this, it gives them the opportunity to use their experience in arranging accessible transportation, travel insurance and other procedures to your benefit, especially as they offer a ton of good discounts and a wide range of services to you.
Choose the right season for your trip
Timing is important when embarking on a trip which is why keeping tabs on weather conditions and how it could affect you itinerary can save you a world of hassle. Also, you may want to avoid peak seasons such as public holidays, Christmas and New Year, as the airports are usually very crowded at this time and everything is twice as difficult.
Avoid connecting flights
Direct flights are best for any disabled traveler as it saves him or her the hassle of getting on and off the plane. Maneuvering through airport gates, exits and corners at one airport is already difficult; multiply that by three terminals and that can be a nightmare. If you however insist on connecting flight, ensure you allow plenty time between the flights, to enable you make all necessary movements.
Pick a hotel in the most accessible parts of town
A hotel which is remotely located can take the fun out of your trip. So while conducting your research, try to pay a little attention to how close to the city center the residence is and measure the level of safety of the neighborhood in which it is located. You should also know if there are accessible restaurants nearby and what fun spots are within the vicinity.
Investigate public transportation options
Details on accessible transportation are important, unless you plan on staying indoors throughout your trip. When choosing your hotel, consider its proximity to bus stops and junctions as well as the types of transportation on offer. Do they offer free transit service to people with disability? Do they have links to reliable car hire services? What is the cost of these transport options? These are key questions you need answers to before embarking on that journey.-
Ensure you have a doctor’s note and phone number
It is important you have an official statement from a doctor, offering details on your condition, prescriptions, special needs, probable complications, and other relevant information. Ensure that you have a number where your doctor (or another medical professional) can be reached in an emergency situation at any hour of the day. Remember to place this information in a place where it can be easily reached in dire cases where you cannot help them with it.